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Making a Mailing List

Make a mailing list that maximizes the impact your direct mail campaign has

Databases come in various formats, and mailing lists may not always align precisely with our recommendations. Lists that do not conform to our layout may incur additional fees due to the need for extensive manipulation to process the list per USPS requirements.


Valid mailing addresses cannot be created from incomplete, inaccurate, or incorrectly formatted data. Even when put together carefully, it's typical to encounter a return rate or undeliverable pieces ranging from 8% to 10% per mailing. However, the USPS only allows 0.5% of an entire list to be undeliverable. The USPS reserves the right to assess the cost of disposing of undeliverable mail pieces. Furthermore, international addresses are not eligible for marketing mail.


Typically, your mailing list will include four to nine categories. However, if you plan on utilizing variable data to customize your mailer, ask us what additional categories your list will require. However, if you are planning on using variable data, please ensure the columns of your mailing list are entitled as follows:

  1. Name (optional)

  2. Title (optional)

  3. Company (optional)

  4. Department (optional)

  5. Address1 (required)

  6. Address2 (if applicable)

  7. City (required)

  8. State (required)

  9. Zip Code (required)

There are some formatting errors that will make your list unworkable. To avoid this, ensure that your list does not include any of the following:

  1. No merged fields

  2. No centered fields

  3. No hidden fields

  4. Ensure all of your headers are on one line only

Once you have labeled your columns, organize your mailing list information in the appropriate columns. There are a few items to remember when you are filling out your mailing list information.

  • Remove all punctuation (e.g., MR. CHAD SMITH, JR. will become MR CHAD SMITH JR).

  • Apply appropriate abbreviations (e.g., STREET to ST, AVENUE to AVE, etc.).

  • Reduce lengthy job titles if applicable with concise alternatives (e.g. Shorten VICE PRESIDENT OF PUBLIC RELATIONS to VP OF PR )

  • There can be a maximum of 50 characters per field, including spaces for addressing. Anything exceeding this limit will be truncated as per USPS requirements.

  • Ensure all spelling is correct, as the computer cannot understand MIAN STREET as opposed to MAIN STREET. Due to this, all misspelled addresses automatically become undeliverable, or the mail piece will be sent to the wrong address. The computer cannot deduce what you meant to say. Instead, they can only read exactly what is provided to them.

When exporting your file, it's always a good idea to ask your direct mail company how you should export it best for their software. However, if your direct mailer is us as Nupp Printing, we accept Excel documents, .txt documents, and .csv. If you cannot access Excel, you can always use Google Sheets and we can download it as an Excel spreadsheet.


Once you are ready to save or export your mailing list, please make sure that your list is one of the following file types:

  • .csv

  • .txt

  • .xls

  • .xlsx

Other formats than those listed may add time and fees if adjustments or manipulations to your data are necessary. If you're uncertain about whether your mailing list meets our specifications, please reach out to Nupp Printing. We are here to help and hope that you found this description of preparing a mailing list helpful.


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